Saturday, December 10, 2005

Thugs'R'Us


No, I'm not talking about the Cartoon Network -- they're just entrepeneurs responding to market demand. I'm talking about the Drug Enforcement Agency and the IRS.

The thugs brag:

According to the indictment and complaints, the defendants' organization received up to 600 customer telephone calls per day from over 50,000 different telephone numbers through a roving call center and delivered the marijuana via a distribution system of drug couriers.

According to the indictment and the complaints, the defendants distributed more than a ton of highly potent, hydroponically grown marijuana between January 1, 1999 and December 1, 2005, utilizing a mobile call center that regularly changed locations from hotel rooms and apartments in New York City and Long Island. Managers of the drug enterprise operated the call center, which involved multiple pagers, mobile telephones, and computers.


Sound like some motivated businessmen to me -- filling their customers' needs through the most advanced distribution system available. Of course, the thugs don't see it that way:

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, "Drug trafficking at all levels impacts the residents of New York and the surrounding area, especially the young and defenseless. Operation Cartoon Network targeted a significant number of drug traffickers who made millions of dollars by luring the weak into drug dens where traffickers pushed their poison for monetary gain."

But the real story is, oddly enough, in the release as well:

Customers typically contacted the defendants through pager numbers. Their calls were then returned by managers at the call centers, who used the codeword "Cartoon." The customers were required to provide identifying information, which the managers checked against their computerized records of all customers. Once a customer's identity was confirmed, the order was accepted, generally in the amount of between $100 to $500. The marijuana was then packaged in plastic vials bearing the Cartoon Network logo and delivered by the organization's couriers. New customers had to be referred by an existing customer ...

So much for "luring the weak into drug dens." These customers had to seek out a supplier for the goods they wanted -- then they had to supply references. And after that, the goods were delivered to them, not consumed in some fictional "den."

Bottom line: The goons stole $837,000 worth of marijuana and $600K+ in cash, and they're trying to steal another $22 million worth of personal and business assets (to add to $40 million they not only admit to stealing, but brag about stealing).

I could make a reasonably good case that the DEA and IRS have killed, or brought about the deaths of, more Americans than al Qaeda over the same time period. The difference, of course, is that al Qaeda doesn't get paid out of the U.S. Treasury, nor do they smother us with a bunch of bullshit about how they're there to "protect" us.

Hat tip to Steve G. and Michelle at Hammer of Truth, who mentioned this story to me and are trying to strike a balance between blogging it and consuming alcohol right now. Link to their version will appear here when it appears there. Here's that HoT link.

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